By Michaela del Callar
MANILA, (PNA) -– Nine undocumented Filipinos were arrested this week as Malaysia intensifies its crackdown on illegal foreign workers, the Dept. of Foreign Affairs said Thursday.
Eight of them were rounded up by Malaysian immigration authorities in Labuan Federal Territory while one was apprehended by immigration authorities in Bintulu, Sarawak on Sept. 3, DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez told a press briefing.
Malaysia’s latest crackdown on undocumented workers that began Sept. 1 resulted to the arrest of hundreds of foreigners, mostly from Indonesia, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal.
Malaysia is home to thousands of Filipinos.
Many of Philippine citizens are undocumented and reside in Malaysian-controlled Sabah, a resource-rich territory that is also being claimed by the Philippines.
Last Monday, Malaya called on Minister for Home Affairs Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and requested humane treatment for Filipinos who may be affected by the campaign against illegal immigrants.
“We continue to closely monitor the situation,” Hernandez said. “We also wish to reiterate our call for our kababayans in Malaysia to fully complete their immigration documentation and always carry proper identification documents.”
Every year, hundreds of Filipinos enter Sabah through Mindanao in search of a better life. Most of the undocumented Filipinos in Sabah hail from Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and other far-flung provinces in the south that are among the Philippines’ poorest and constantly plagued by war.